On World Karate Day 2014, 24 E.S.K.K members took part in the first 100 kata Challenge, an event conceived by James Pankiewicz, owner of The DOJO Bar in Naha and director of Challenge Okinawa.
James’ idea was to commemorate the fact that it was on October 25th 1936 that the Ryukyu traditions of Okinawa-te 沖縄手 or Kara-te 唐手 (China Hand) were officially named as Karate 空手 (Empty Hand). In 2005, October 25th became recognised as ”Karate Day” to pray for the expansion of traditional Karate, world peace and happiness.
So this year once again, 24 E.S.K.K volunteers mustered at 22:00 on Saturday 24th October at the home of our Sunday Karate dojo - The Jubilee Community Hall in Cleator.
At exactly the same time, many other dojos around the world were about to start their own 100 kata challenge aligned, as were we, to dawn (06:00) on the island of Okinawa, the Birthplace of Karate.
This year it would be the first time we were registered under our new dojo name of 'Toku Sei Kan' (Hall of Virtue & Sincerity) and it was only fitting that our chosen kata would again be Naihanchi Shodan - our core form. It would also be the first time we would be using the event to raise money for our newly created Community Fund.
Our Community Fund will be the main focus for this and all future fund raising events. We will use cash raised throughout the year to allow us to make a significant charity donation each year as part of our annual celebrations, as well as allowing us to continue our community work (demonstrations etc. to local youth groups) and making the Okinawa karate experience a possibility for more of our members in the future.
If you'd like to sponsor an individual volunteer for this event or make a donation direct to the Community Fund, then please follow the link below...
So as 10pm approached, the volunteers warmed up and lined up for the traditional group photo. The 2015 team was a mixture of “veterans” from last year's event and those for whom this would be a whole new experience and as you can see from the photo above, a wide spectrum of ranks were present.
The veterans knew what was coming. We would each take a turn at leading the kata with Sensei starting and then finishing each set of 25 repetitions. That allowed for 3 short breaks to take on board fluids, dry off quickly and dry the floor from the inevitable amount of condensation produced by 24 determined karate-ka working hard.
Well, at least that’s what we did last year! In the true spirit of our dojo we decided to challenge ourselves a little further by skipping the first break and limiting the others to a much shorter time. Of course it would be a crime if we were to allow the pace to compromise the quality of our individual performances, so each participant would endeavour to deliver the very best they could for every one of those 100 reps. Believe me, we all had to dig deep and of course, it would be remiss of us to not add one extra rep at the end to complete a total of 101 - as Sensei put it, “One more for the dojo!”
We managed to complete the first 50 repetitions in just over 46 minutes and the second 50 in less than 45 minutes. A whiteboard was used to keep count and to record the signature of all participants.
The participants were as follows...
A huge thank you goes out to all who helped and supported this event. In particular, Mr. and Mrs. Mills who stayed to watch their son Dominic perform his 100 kata but also kept count on the whiteboard and took a selection of photos and videos.